George Washington Papers

General Orders, 2 June 1779

General Orders

Head-Quarters Middle-Brook Wednesday June 2nd 79

Parole Lawemburg—C. Signs Leeds. Leek.

The meeting of the Court for the trial of Major General Arnold is defered ’till further orders—the exigency of the public service not permitting it to sit at this time.1

The General Court Martial of which Colonel Green is President is dissolved.2

Lieutenant Colonel Simms is appointed to superintend the hospitals in Pennsylvania.3

The Maryland-line, in case they are not in actual preparation to move, will apply to the Quarter Master General to equip them as they are to march tomorrow morning.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1For the recent organization of Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s court-martial, see General Orders, 1 June, and n.2 to that document (see also GW to Benedict Arnold, this date).

A report on the opening proceedings of Arnold’s court-martial appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet or General Advertiser (Philadelphia) for 22 June. It reads: “By authentic intelligence from camp, we learn, that the members nominated to compose the Court-Martial for the trial of Major General Arnold, met on the first day of June, according to General orders, and it was expected the trial would have been held; but when the Judge-Advocate had called over their names, and was about to administer the oath, usual on such occasions, General Arnold objected to three of the gentlemen, at the same time expressing great respect for them, declaring he did not think it proper to assign the reasons on which his objections were founded, and repeatedly desiring they would not think it proper to assign the reasons on which his objections were founded, and repeatedly desiring they would not consider his objections as being personal*. A peremptory challenge of this kind being new, the Judge-Advocate laid the case before his Excellency General Washington, who referred it to a board of General-Officers. During their deliberations on the subject, advice was received of the movement of the enemy, which made it necessary for the army to advance towards the North-river. The trial was therefore postponed, until the Commander in Chief shall judge the circumstances of the service will better admit of it. *The officers objected to, were General Irwin, Colonel Butler and Lieut. Col. Harmer, these were all the officers of the Pennsylvania line, which were in the appointment.” See Council of War, 1 June.

2The general orders for 16 May had organized this court-martial with Col. Christopher Greene as president.

3GW had chosen Lt. Col. Charles Simms as a member of Arnold’s court-martial, and the deferral of that matter apparently freed him for this assignment. By the end of the summer, Simms was seeking leave from the army (see John Jay to GW, 8 Aug., DNA:PCC, item 14, and GW to Jay, 19 Aug., DNA:PCC, item 152). Unsuccessful in this effort, Simms submitted his resignation, which Congress accepted in December.

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